Imagine the surprise which the discovery of an Egyptian book would cause if we learned that a work of the ancient Egyptians still existed in our time - one of the books saved from the flames which contained their superb libraries - and which contained their purest beliefs regarding interesting things. Everyone would, no doubt, be eager to know about such a precious and extraordinary book which is already in use in a large part of Europe and has been in the hands of everyone for a number of centuries. Wouldn't it be the greatest surprise, if we vouched that we never suspected the book was Egyptian and that we own it without really owning it, because we have never tried to decipher one page of it, or to look upon the fruits of its exquisite wisdom.
This Egyptian book does exist. This Egyptian book is all that remains in our time of their superb libraries. It is even so common that not one scholar has condescended to bother with it since no one before us has ever suspected its illustrious origin. This book is composed of seventy-seven, even seventy-eight sheets or pictures, divided into five classes, each showing things which is so varied as they are amusing and instructive. In a world, this book is the game of tarot, a game unknown in Paris, it is true, but very well known in Italy, Germany and even in Provence. This game is bizarre because of the kinds of figures appearing on its cards as well as their great number.